I always learn something when I travel. Which is nice. Then I can pass the tips along to others who might not have thought to ask certain questions or taken certain things into consideration before setting out on their quests either.
On our Haunt Jaunt to Key West and Nassau I learned the following:
- When traveling on a cruise ship during a holiday week expect many children. I have nothing against children, but I’m not used to being around them. And when almost 1,000 of the 2,500 passengers on your cruise ship are kids, it’s easy to feel outnumbered. And frustrated. Wayne and I are pretty tolerant for the most part. However, our patience was definitely tested as we waited in lines made longer by those having to help their children get food, embark, disembark, etc. Also (and what tested us most) was that many parents were very lenient in their discipline. Kids were, literally, running wild in the halls at night, pushing past us older and slower folks while we were in line getting food, walking around the ship, playing games, etc. Those who don’t like kids or have less patience would be well advised to take this sort of thing into consideration before planning a trip during a time when kids aren’t in school. We encountered more than one very disgruntled cruiser who hadn’t banked on their being “so many damn kids” on board.
- If you’re not at a port overnight and want to take a ghost tour, call ahead and ask if they offer day tours. We were only in Key West from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. All the ghost tours didn’t start until 7 or 8 p.m. However, I chatted with a nice guy at one of the ghost tour booth’s who told me his company does work with the cruise ship’s to offer daytime tours if there’s a group interested. (Which I thought was a great idea and wished I had known about beforehand. I really would have liked to take a tour of all of Key West’s haunts.)
- When traveling to a beach or an ocean destination, find a digital waterproof camera to bring along or invest in a waterproof camera case. I was so proud of myself that I remembered to buy a disposable waterproof camera to bring with us. Back in 2001 we’d gone to St. Lucia and I’d had one. I ended up getting some great shots. Trouble is, that was before digital cameras killed photo developing. Try to find a place to process one hour film now. (I didn’t know Walmart and Target had gotten out of that business. I’ve now learned Walgreens still does it…but for how much longer?)
- If you’re a travel blogger who wants to post travel pics taken with an underwater camera, make sure to invest in a digital one or get a waterproof case. You might be thinking, “Courtney, are you losing your mind? Didn’t you already cover this in #3?” Yes…and no. I can’t emphasize this enough, because I used the underwater camera in Key West because the weather was iffy and I didn’t have anything waterproof to stash my regular camera in. I only had the 27 shots on the underwater camera, so instead of splurging on clicks like I normally would’ve with my regular camera, I had to ration myself. And now I’m waiting to get that film developed. It’s a pain! Save yourself all these frustrations and check out Travel Gear’s great blog about a variety of waterproof digital cameras to consider. Trouble is, they’re kind of pricey. ($200-$500.) If you’re planning on buying a new camera and wanted to make sure it was waterproof, they’re good options. But a nice lady at our local Walmart showed me a Suprema Pixsea camera they have that’s good to underwater depths of 115′ for under $100. But her even bigger tip was those cameras were going to be discounted by half here soon. (It even takes video! I’m definitely keeping my eye on it. Heck, a waterproof camera would be a handy thing to have on hand period!)
- Key West isn’t just about Hemingway and Jimmy Buffet. The island only measures 4 miles by 2 miles, but do you know there were three ghost tour companies operating on Duval Street? (What amounts to the main drag.) And for such a tiny island, holy crumb did they have their share of haunted places! It’s not only a party lovers dream destination, but also a ghost enthusiasts too!